Is it possible to feel as if you were touching the sky with your hand? The answer is: maybe, or maybe not. Everybody could say that feeling as if you were touching the sky with your hand is a kind of those human experiences you can live only a few times in life.
Lynn Petro is currently the Academic Supervisor of Aston International English Academy, but education is not everything in her life. Since she was a little girl, something deeper inside her has been growing up, and that is: music. “The only person on either side of my family that was musical in any way was my dad’s mom. As far as I know, she was the only person who did anything musical. No one else [in her family] does music.” She is conscious certainly that her music sense has been developed by hearing piano. Indeed, Lynn played a little piano too. She took piano class during middle, high school and college. “There was always music in my house… always!” she said.
An instrument, for a musical kind of person, is always related to inner self. Piano clearly wasn’t her instrument, at least. Her dedication for playing piano would finish with the end of piano classes. Then how did she get into the violin? Yes, the violin! Somehow, anyone who likes to play an instrument tends to make a choice. The choice is made because the liked instrument has been heard in a piece of recorded music or an orchestra performance. The most liked composers for Lynn are Brahms and Dvorak. There are beautiful parts for violin written by those composers. However, it wasn’t a reason for having chosen and keeping herself identified with the violin. It is a funny story about how she found the violin as her instrument. “I started in school; it was 4th grade, which means, like I said, 9 years old. The year before that, with all my classmates, we had been required to take a music test. We’ve got a paper in front of us, but my friend and I didn’t take it seriously at all. We had been just messing around during the test, just playing. So, some time later there came the test results, and they called us all into the office in groups to tell us about our instruments, and the Music Director said to me, “Oh! Your test is very good! You’re gonna be perfect as a violin player.” Lynn hadn't understood anything in the test, even not cared about results, but as the time went by, she said, “Ok! It sounds good! So that is how the violin chose me!” she stated. After she started playing, she discovered how much she liked it.
You can play an instrument as a hobby, as an amateur, or at a professional level. Whatever level you have, it is possible to have fun by playing music anytime. For Lynn, it doesn’t matter if it is at a professional level or not. She always enjoys making music with other people. In fact, she does not like to be the soloist in a piece of music, or concert master, who leads a violin group, or even less, the orchestra’s conductor. She always prefers to play in a group, so she kept herself with the violinists in any orchestra she joined.
Lynn was born in 1969 in Buffalo, New York, a city near Niagara Falls. She moved to Austin, TX in 1993. A few years later, she joined the Austin Civic Orchestra, in which she plays with the first violin group. That was until the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She has been part of different orchestras during her musical life. Despite that, there was one orchestra which let her live a lot of beautiful moments. Lynn related this remembrance in a way a little bit joyful, proud and nostalgic, all at the same time. It happened at university. “The orchestra,” she says with enthusiasm, “was excellent, fantastic.” It had a very good performance level because it was composed of music majors, music students, amateur musicians. Even more, it was opened for welcoming musicians from outside of the community, so there were music teachers, as well. Every year they toured around the state, stopping in cities and towns along the way, ending in New York City.
Lynn continued the story. She was about 21 years old and they came to New York City at the end of a tour. As an orchestra, they would play in a very special place, called “Symphony Space”. “We played Mahler, the 1st. Symphony, which is very very hard to play. We had practiced as never before. We performed it in very many cities, in halls quite full of people, but now it was different. That was the last night of the tour. We were performing the symphony, and there was a gentleman in the front row who saw my face. I could see him through the corner of my eyes. He was watching so seriously. I couldn’t see if he was very angry or very happy. When the last note of the symphony finished, he flew out of his seat and began clapping crazily. Almost everybody stood up in the room. It was a fantastic performance, I have to say, and later that evening, our conductor came on the bus almost crying. He said that in all his music career, this was one of the top experiences for him ever, and we all felt the same energy at this moment”.
For sure, the memory of these magical moments could be for Lynn’s life, one of those in which you say: it was as if I could touch the sky with my hand. In her case, when “the violin in her life lifted her up to the sky”.